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Rachel's Vineyard helped me to move on from regret, despair and grief, to Hope and Healling

“I had an abortion 20 years ago, and despite having gone for help both professionally and spiritually, it was something that ate into the core of my being on a daily basis.  It simply did not go away.  I found Rachel’s Vineyard during a period of despair through a girlfriend who had trod a similar path.  The retreat provided an understanding and healing that has been transforming to my heart and daily living.  In real terms it has brought me back to an alignment of my true nature thereby anchoring more clearly in the job of rearing my surviving child as a lone parent.  The grief of loss and shame, of silent mourning, was honoured through ritual and word in an environment of extraordinary service and compassion.  I cannot recommend it enough to any man or woman experiencing pain or undermine from an abortion experience of their own or another person.  To all who served me with such grace dignity and quiet knowing, I can only offer my immense gratitude that you were there and remain there for all suffering in the silence of their hearts” Rachel’s Vineyard saved my life”.

There is Hope and there is Healing

.I remember it as though it was yesterday.  I was 18 years old (I’m now nearly 60!).  I discovered I was pregnant. I remember when it was confirmed to me, the first thing I said was ‘I cannot have a baby’.  And so I began the path of organising to have an abortion.  The first port of call was to see somebody who chatted about the situation with me.  It was fairly low key and after a few minutes, she agreed for the abortion to go ahead.

 A couple of weeks later, I was at home with a sore tummy having had the abortion.  (I kept the whole situation a secret from my parents).  Life soon got back to normal.  Although I am a Catholic, at the time, my faith was not that important to me.  I went to church when I felt like it and for the rest of the time I worked hard and played hard.  Looking back, I realise I didn’t like myself very much.  When I went out for an evening with friends, I would always offer to drive and would always buy the drinks.   I was trying to buy friendship.

In my mid-twenties, I found myself becoming more interested in my faith.  I started going to Mass regularly.  When I went to confession, I was too embarrassed to talk about the abortion, so I said ‘for these and my other sins, I humbly ask God’s forgiveness’, hoping that would be sufficient!  I had pushed the experience of having an abortion right down inside me and certainly didn’t want to talk about it.  At this time, I met my husband and we decided that as soon as we were married, we would try for a family.  Each month when I discovered I wasn’t pregnant, I was devastated.  I got to the point when I couldn’t walk down the baby isle without getting upset.  I took out all my frustration on my husband – for the first five years of our marriage, I treated him terribly. 

 I went for fertility treatment and was told that due to the burst appendix I had when I was twenty one, I would never be able to have a family.  My mind was filled with all sorts of emotions, was God punishing me for having an abortion, anger and guilt was overwhelming and I felt so ashamed.  The realisation of what I had done hit me and I didn’t know how I was going to cope.  I told my husband, who was so kind and understanding and so for the first time, I cried for the baby I aborted.  I couldn’t sleep – if I did go to sleep, I would wake up after a couple of hours and remain awake for the rest of the night.  I began taking sleeping tablets, but the doctor was reluctant to continue supplying them so I had to put up with sleepless nights.  This went on for years.

 I asked my priest if we could have a chat and so I told him all about it.  He gave me absolution.  I should have felt better, after all God had forgiven me.  At the time, I don’t think I believed it.  I certainly hadn’t forgiven myself and so I tried to justify myself by doing all sorts of voluntary work.  No matter what I did, I still couldn’t forgive myself and I know I didn’t like myself.  Over time I made new friends in the church and so I joined a prayer group.  I remember this lady prayed with me and she told me that I had cried a fountain of tears and it was time to stop.  I went to see a priest and explained how I felt and he talked to me about forgiving myself.  I felt slightly better, but by no means healed. No matter how many retreats or days of prayer I went to, my heart remained the same, I couldn’t accept myself for what I had done and questioned whether God would also accept me.

  My family and friends around me were having families of their own and all I could do was look on and try to share in their happiness.  Inside, it was agony.  Years passed and life carried on, but I knew that I needed help because every time I saw a baby on the TV, I would still break down and cry.  A very good friend of mine talked to me about attending a Rachel’s Vineyard retreat.  I told him that I thought I didn’t need to go there and so dismissed the idea.  A new priest came to our parish and I opened up to him about my past.  He also suggested that I might want to go to a Rachel’s Vineyard retreat.    I told him that over the years, I had received prayer and I thought I was over it and didn’t need a retreat.    Little did I know!

 I arranged to visit some friends in Ireland, Bernadette from Rachael’s Vineyard and a member of her team had been invited for lunch.  As soon as I met Bernadette, I knew I wanted what she had.  There was a joy and a freedom about her.  Eventually during the afternoon, I told her I had an abortion when I was 18.  She said there was a week-end being held the following week, if I was interested.   I came home, told my husband and booked the flight.

 I can honestly say, it was the best weekend of my life.  Bernadette and her team were wonderful, so warm and caring.  For the first time, I shared my story with other women who were in the same boat as me.  We cried together, we listened to each other, no one judged us.  We were loved and accepted for who we were.  The weekend was organised in such a way that we were able to talk about our abortion and about our feelings.  It was such a wonderful revelation to come to the realisation that God loves us for who we are and He wants nothing more than to take away all our feelings of anger, guilt and shame and to replace them with His peace.  At the end of the weekend, I came home a completely different person.  I now acknowledge that I have a daughter in Heaven, a daughter who prays for me and one day, I know I will be able to hold her!  All the negative feelings have gone and for the first time, I feel, I can be me. I like who I am.  The morning I arrived home, I looked in the mirror and couldn’t believe how blue my eyes were.  I went dashing to my husband and asked him and yes he agreed that they were a bright blue (I now wear contact lenses instead of glasses!)  I am sleeping so well.  If I do wake up, I immediately go back to sleep again.  There is a joy within me with an acceptance of the past but now I look forward to each day.

 I would recommend anybody who is suffering from abortion to seriously consider attending a Rachel’s Vineyard weekend.  God has given us life to be lived to the full, do not let Satan snatch it away.  He wants to keep us in chains, wanting us to believe that we are not worthy of being loved.  He wants us to remain ashamed and full of guilt. 

It took me forty years to attend a Rachel’s Vineyard retreat.    If you are struggling, pick up the phone and call them.  There is Hope and there is Healing.


 Chloe's story

  I was almost 37 when I had an abortion and it broke my heart.   After having had some dark phases in my earlier life, including bouts of depression and an eating disorder, I was ‘in a good place’, when I fell pregnant.  I felt healthy and well-balanced, physically and emotionally.  I was already a single mother of a 15-year old and had been in a committed relationship with a decent man for the previous two years.  I believed I had a reasonable degree of self-awareness and spiritual awareness, prayed and went to Mass and enjoyed visiting religious sites such as Lough Derg, Clonfert and Knock. I was educated to Master’s level, had a secure permanent job in the public sector, a reasonable income, a savings account and my own home.  My circumstances could not have been more different to when I first got pregnant as a 21-year old student, with a man I’d know only 3 months.  There was no reason for me not to welcome this pregnancy and have faith in the future. So why did I choose abortion? 

  I will never be able to fully rationalise that decision, but old fears of abandonment, of disapproval and of struggle after my last pregnancy resurfaced with devastating consequences. In hindsight, another significant factor was that I was frighteningly and incomprehensibly ignorant of the reality of abortion and its aftermath. Of course, I rationalised, if I am struggling to cope, or if I am once again abandoned as a single mother, it will not be in the child’s best interest.  The timing isn’t right.  The father isn’t financially secure enough.  The logistics of us moving in together would be too difficult. The childcare burden would be on me. People would be disappointed in me that I let this happen.  I was setting a poor example for my daughter by having another child outside of marriage. I would be trapped in the responsibility of parenthood for another 20 years. But I always wavered. Up to the last second before the procedure, there was always a voice to tell me that this was not the right decision; that this was not in accordance with spiritual law. Unfortunately, I ignored this voice, and proved to myself once again the old adage that it is not possible to break a spiritual law. You can only break yourself against it. And I was left broken and shattered.

 I could never claim that anyone pressured me into abortion. Quite the opposite. When I discovered I was pregnant, I told only my partner.  My partner was very much against the idea, having had two previous abortions with two other women. Although I empathised with his desire to have the child, I reasoned that the decision was not his, as the ‘burden’ of responsibility (as I saw it) would always be mine. It was too easy for a man to walk away, as the father of my first child had done.  There was no trust.  My experience of having been abandoned as a single mother spoke louder than any words my partner could ever speak.

 I was eight and a half weeks pregnant when I had a surgical abortion. I had completed the pregnancy test the previous Tuesday evening and by the following Monday I had travelled to Manchester to abort.  I had been feeling very tired, low in energy and unwell the few weeks prior to doing the pregnancy test but attributed this to the fact that I was just back from a two-week holiday abroad. We had been careful to contracept and it was not terribly unusual for my menstrual cycle to be irregular.  I blamed the long flight, the food and drink consumed on holiday, the hectic schedule of activity for this uncharacteristic unwellness I was feeling. By the time I finally did the home pregnancy test, I was at the stage where I was going straight to bed at 5pm after finishing work and had spent the previous weekend lying in bed, though lack of energy.  My mood was low and I became very distressed when I saw the result.  I immediately thought of abortion, as a solution to my problem.  I phoned my partner and he came over (with flowers).  We had a huge argument, as he was unwilling to accept the reasons why I sought to abort, resulting in him leaving my home quite abruptly the following morning.  This confirmed my fear of him walking out and I began to google abortion.  That day I made an appointment with a clinic in Manchester.  My partner and I reconciled that same day but I remained adamant that abortion was an option, despite his best efforts to convince me otherwise.  But still I wavered and cried intermittently for a week.  I made a list of the pros and cons of having the procedure, but crucially never discussed it with anyone but my partner, whose advice I disregarded, as I perceived him to have a ‘vested interest’.

 In hindsight, the most inexplicable aspect of my experience was my ignorance of the devastating emotional and psychological consequences of abortion. A friend had once confided that she’d had an abortion, but spoke of it in much the same way as having had a tooth extracted, an unpleasant, yet necessary procedure. I knew it wasn’t going to be easy but life hadn’t been easy and I had toughened up.  I told the baby in my womb that I was sorry I had to do this, but that it was for the best.  I told my partner the same.  I was wholly unprepared and tragically oblivious to the devastation and desolation that was to follow.

 Arriving at the clinic over an hour early, I struggled to fight back the tears as I provided my details. I was asked to wait so that the nurse could speak to be about the possibility of a medical abortion, which they claimed was significantly cheaper than the surgical procedure.  Sitting in the nurse’s office I cried as she described the procedures. I finally settled on the surgical procedure. I just wanted it over and done with. I waited again to see another nurse about a scan. I cried as she did the scan and took my bloods.  I hated being in that clinic, desperately wanted to run out of there, begged for some kind of sign that what I was doing was right, wished that someone would rescue me.  Finally, I was lying on the table. The doctor asked if I was sure this was what I wanted.  Although in tears, I nodded. Ten minutes later it was all over, and I saw them take away the blue slop bucket.  No words can ever explain the desolation and despair I felt in those moments following the abortion. The horror of what I had done was revealed to me, I realised what I had lost and I hated myself and the world.  How could I have been so blind, ignorant, selfish? How could I have been fooled into thinking that abortion was ever a viable choice? A quick fix that would let me return to normal life?  Back in the hotel room I wailed for my lost baby. I texted my partner to let him know the procedure was complete. 

 The following days were the darkest I have ever lived.  There was no hope, no consolation.  In desperation, I confided in a friend, who contacted me by coincidence (or as I now believe through the intercession of a Higher Power). She was aware of a healing retreat for post-abortion women.  I googled desperately and discovered Rachels Vineyard..  The Friday following the abortion, I attended this retreat and experienced a very powerful healing and this preserved my sanity.  I believe that this was primarily through the release of damaging emotions such as guilt, anger and grief, the renewal of my faith and also through the love, faith and support of the facilitators, other participants and their testimonies. I was too raw to attend the entire retreat so left halfway through but that was enough to initiate my healing.  I returned to complete the retreat two months later and had an even more powerful healing.  I will be eternally grateful for having been led to this retreat as without it I cannot imagine how I would ever have recovered from the trauma of post-abortion.

 I was not spared the natural grieving process and shed many a tear in the last ten months since the procedure, including during the writing of this testimony.  I have felt a terrible emptiness and sense of loss in my life, and my relationship with my partner has suffered as we struggle to believe in one another again.  I have a renewed respect for the miracle of life and for spiritual laws that govern us. I have a greater appreciation of my daughter and other loved ones and what really is important in life.  Certainly, my self-esteem has taken a hit. I feel more vulnerable, less confident and trust myself less, but that may not be a bad thing.  If anything, this was a terrible lesson in humility for me.  I was not the good, spiritual person I thought I was, nor the intelligent, educated girl that could make balanced decisions.  But the good news is that Christ still loves me and I am still a Child of the Light and not of the darkness.


 How do you mend countless Broken Hearts?  One Heart at a Time 

 Coming to a Rachel's Vineyard retreat has been a turning point in my life.  For many years I suffered, not knowing what to do or where to turn.  This feeling became so much worse after giving birth to my two little boys.  I felt I was such a bad person for aborting my two babies.  I felt worthless, my self hatred grew more and more and my life had no joy or peace.

I read an article about Rachel's Vineyard and felt compelled to attend a weekend retreat, although it took me many months to make that phone call to Bernadette.  I thought that she was going to hate me because I had two abortions.  When I told her on the phone she didn't sound surprised at all and was very kind and encouraging.

By the end of the weekend I didn't want to leave, although it had been an emotional rollercoaster, I felt safe there.  Sharing our stories with these other hurt women was a difficult but amazing experience.  Facing our lives with such honesty and knowing that we were not alone.  There were lots of tears and plenty of laughter and I made some very good friends.

The best part for me was finally acknowledging my children, naming them and finally being able to symbolically lay them to rest at the beautiful memorial service.

For anyone who is suffering from a past abortion, no matter what your story is, how many abortions, or why, you will find a very supportive, compassionate and encouraging place at Rachel's Vineyard, to begin to heal your broken heart, but most importantly , you will not be judged.

My life is so much better now, I have forgiven myself and I have so much Hope.


The terrible Lie, that they call abortion

I want to thank the team at Rachel's Vineyard for all the help and support they gave me at the retreat, regarding the terrible pain and suffering that I went through as a result of an abortion.  Without them I do not think that I could have moved on with my life.  

The shame and guilt that was building up inside of me was terrible, every day was a struggle, trying to live with what I had done.  I was constantly beating myself up over what I had done.  I felt so alone, couldn't, wouldn't talk to anyone about how awful I felt.   I thank our Lord for Rachel's Vineyard and for Bernadette and her team.  Without them I would still be in a very big black dark hole.

I heard about Rachel's Vineyard from a spiritual director.  Initially I was very frightened at the prospect of attending a retreat, and kept saying to myself,  I wont go, I will just have to live with what I have done.  Then I took the bull by the horns and eventually went.  It was a turning point in my life.

The retreat lasted a weekend.  I was met at the door by such warm and welcoming people.  I was welcomed with open and compassionate arms.  I didn't feel like a leper, and as the weekend progressed I realized that I was being healed.  I finally had my pain, my feelings, legitimized.    I have been able to openly and publicly acknowledge my child's very real and precious existence.  I have been able to welcome my child as part of my family, and have finally been given permission to own my baby to acknowledge him as a real person, and to grieve his loss. 

Abortion is a Lie.  With abortion, one Heart is stopped and another Heart is broken.


The Gift of Rachel's Vineyard.

In finding Rachel's Vineyard you are truly blessed.  You are being given a second chance, a chance to find peace with yourself, with your child, and with God.  Graciously accept the gift that is 'Rachel's Vineyard'.... It will change your life.

For six long years I endured depression, anxiety, panic attacks, guilt and shame.  Dealing with each problem as they arose, unaware that they were merely masking the pain and grief of two abortions.

I struggled and worked through these dark times but mostly I endured it.... because I believed that I deserved it, the price I had to pay for my actions.

In therapy I was advised to forgive myself, even if I knew how or where to begin.  How could I possibly.... the pain was the only link I had to my babies.  I was gripped in pain, isolated in my grief.  I could see no way through or past it.

At Rachel's Vineyard, I was able to speak my truth, without prejudice or judgment from anyone.  'Rachel's Vineyard' provided me and others just like me with the space, the support and the tools to begin to deal with the trauma and loss of abortion.

It is difficult to find words for the wealth of experience I had... I have hope now and faith.  I am at peace now with God and with my past.  To get past the pain of abortion we must go through it.  As difficult and as scary as that may seem......I would go through Rachel's Vineyard ten times over and more, rather than live another day as I had done before.

The greatest gift you can give yourself is the gift of 'Rachel's Vineyard.


 You are not alone anymore.

Rachel's Vineyard is truly a blessing to any woman who has had an abortion.  

The unbearable pain and suffering that I went through as a result of my abortion, deeply scarred me as a woman.  I lost all self respect, trust, love and dignity towards myself.  The guilt, deep sadness and loss that I felt from the wrong decision that I had made just tore me apart inside.

Rachel's Vineyard is a retreat where I met people with such compassion, warmth and love towards me and other women who were also deeply wounded by abortion.

For me the retreat was a beautiful experience overall and a very safe place to share my feelings, fears, worries and most of all my terrible guilt, shame anger and pain.

I felt comfortable in knowing that these people wanted to listen to my story without criticizing or judging me.  I bonded that weekend, not only with the team members but also with the other post abortive women, who related to me with their feelings and similar experiences.

The most important thing about the retreat is that it is done in total confidence and that there will always be someone you can contact from the team after the retreat, should you feel the need to.  The isolation has ended, and you do not feel alone anymore



 Almost 30 years ago I found myself pregnant and scared.  I couldn’t confide in family or friends.  I was raised a Catholic and my mother always told us not  to come home pregnant and bring shame to the family.  What other people thought was more important; image was everything.

 I was living in Dublin and knew in my heart and soul that my family would never forgive me for bringing this disgrace upon them so I chose what I thought was the easiest way out.  I had an abortion. My now husband of 28 years was the father, but he had no say in the decision I made.  I knew that I could never have this child adopted after carrying it for 9 months; not knowing who would be chosen to be its parents.  Whether the child would be happy and well looked after.  I couldn’t take that chance and live with it.  I thought I could live with this secret instead.  How wrong I was.

Alone, I made all the necessary arrangements and traveled to England with my partner.  It was so lonely and I was so scared.  I had no idea what was ahead of me or what devastating effect the decision would have on my future. From that day forward we never ever spoke of what had taken place.

Afterwards I buried the whole episode in the depth of my sub-conscious and every now and then it would surface to haunt me.  No one knows the shame and guilt I felt especially during the Abortion Referendum.  Nowhere was safe.  Everywhere I went people were talking about it. We eventually got married and some time later I gave birth to a beautiful son. He was perfect and I loved him more than life itself.  He was my whole life.  Unfortunately that didn’t last very long he was taken from me in a freak accident and I was left alone to punish myself yet again. I believed that God was chastising me for the bad decision I made years earlier.   

 I fell into a deep depression and from that time onwards I believed that everything bad that happened to me in my life I deserved.  My relationship with my mother began to deteriorate because deep down I blamed her for my decision years earlier.  If only she was the type of mother whom I could depend on and turn to.What’s surprising is that our marriage survived and I was blessed with more children whom I adore and have a brilliant relationship with.  I always believed that God understood and forgave me for what I did.  But I could never forgive myself  

A couple of months ago I attended a Mission and got talking to this wonderful Priest. I told him about my abortion and for the first time in my life a man of the cloth had compassion for me.   He told me to contact a wonderful organization  called Rachel’s Vineyard.     

Recently I spent a weekend with my husband at a Rachel’s Vineyard Retreat, and for the first time in almost 30 years I can feel peace and hope in my life. Everyone there was in some way a victim of circumstance.  The weekend is also for family members and friends of those who have suffered abortions.   The room was consumed with so much pain and suffering only a person who had an abortion would understand.  I was so overwhelmed when I arrived on the Friday that I almost fainted.  My heart was so heavy with guilt: I couldn’t stop crying. I spoke about my terrible secret after all these years and no one judged me or made me feel tainted. I believe I was blessed the day I set foot in Rachel’s Vineyard.  The whole experience of the weekend has changed my life and made my relationship with my husband even stronger.  I never knew the guilt and shame he felt all these years until he gave his version of the story. My reason for writing this personal experience is to try and help others who have had abortions and think there is no one out there who understands.  Rachel’s Vineyard offers hope, inner peace and above all, healing.

  Healing the pain of abortion.

 As I reflect back on the journey that my life has taken, I am sure that the hand of God was on my shoulder.

When I was nineteen years old I had an abortion.  I was living in England at that time.  I took what appeared to be the only choice I had.  This decision made in haste,  triggered years of suffering, self-loathing, fear of family finding out, fear of social exposure, self torture, and fear of God.

The main motivation for an abortion decision is fear.  I just could not tell my family that I was pregnant.  I had heard my father say so often, If you ever get pregnant , don't expect any help from us.  Though it may be idle rhetoric on a parent's part, or even reality in some cases, it may come from a father's well intentioned, though severely misguided, efforts to discourage moral misbehavior in his daughter, by making a severe threat of punishment.  Deterrence through fear was the strategy, even though it was done in love.  When I became pregnant, I felt I had no other choice but to have an abortion, to save my parents from the shame, suffering and disgrace that I would bring on my family.

I had the false expectation that I could turn back the clock on my life, and everything would be fine again.  How wrong I was, I was so naive.  I had no idea what abortion was really about, and the doctor who introduced the idea to me did not enlighten me as to the reality of the humanity of my unborn child.  I had no concept of the life that was growing inside of me.  There was no mention of a baby, just some products of conception.  The aftermath of the abortion continued to imprison me in fear and shame.

  Post Abortion Trauma

I remember being so frightened.  I thought that I was going to die.  I would get panic attacks, and flashbacks of the abortion.  I would see the doctor's face peering into mine, and telling me that everything would be just fine.

No one told me that visits to a doctor in the future would become a nightmare experience for me.  No one told me that on the anniversary of the abortion each year, I would go into a deep depression.  There was a wound in my heart that re-opened every time I heard a baby cry.  No one told me that my heart would throb with pain and longing to have my baby back.  The pain of an abortion can be the worst form of self-torture.  I was not grieving over 'products of conception' or a 'bunch of cells', I was grieving for my baby.

  The Healing Journey

 My first step towards healing occurred when I decided to share my terrible secret with a close friend.  She reacted with compassion, not the shock, horror and condemnation that I expected.  I saw a tiny ray of Hope that day.  I did not feel so isolated anymore, now that I had begun to dismantle the secret.  My friend encouraged me to use my experience of abortion.  She said to me "Jesus loves you warts and all", Don't waste your suffering,  let God use it. 

I went to confession, it was a huge step, but it marked a decisive phase in my journey towards healing.  I encountered the God of Mercy who forgives our sins, and removes all our fears.  The miracle of Divine Mercy restored my soul in full.  God's great love broke the grip of fear that bound me.  His love empowered me to face the truth, acknowledge the  past and express my sorrow.  Acceptance and responsibility were a crucial step in my journey towards healing.

The next step in my healing journey was forgiving myself.  That is very hard for a post-abortive woman or man.  The words of John Paul 11 from the "Gospel of Life" filled me with so much hope - 'If you have not already done so, give yourselves over with humility and trust to repentance.  The Father of Mercies is ready to give you His forgiveness and His peace in the Sacrament of Reconciliation.  You will come to understand that nothing is definitively lost and you will also be able to ask forgiveness from your child, who is now living in the Lord'. Forgiveness is not a feeling, it is a decision, a choice. If we wait until we feel like forgiving it may never happen.  When you forgive you set a prisoner free, and then you realize that the prisoner is you.  Unforgiveness is one of the biggest obstacles to post abortion healing.

  Rachel's Vineyard comes to Ireland

 I heard about Rachel's Vineyard in the U.S.  and made contact with them.  The first retreat was held in Cork in October 2003.   To date I have facilitated over one hundred and fifty retreats.  I have facilitated retreats and trained Rachel's Vineyard teams in England, Malta, the Lebanon, Korea the Faroe Islands, and Hungary.  God can use our biggest mistake as an instrument of  our salvation.  God can make miracles from our mistakes, and he can use our pain to help others.

Unhealed abortion pain can destroy marriages and families.  Healing abortion loss is essential to building a culture of life, and healing our families and communities impacted by this loss.

Bernadette Goulding - Director,Rachel's Vineyard Ireland.


 Finding Healing after Abortion

At a certain stage in my life, I turned my back on God, and gave up praying and going to Mass.  From then on, my life started to go downhill on a self destructive path.  I mixed with the wrong people, drank excessively, and became very promiscuous.  I began to seek out fortune tellers and tarot card readers.  I lied and cheated, and in the process rebelled against all who cared for me.  My mindset became very reckless and extremely negative as, without realizing what was happening, I had lost my dignity and all self respect for myself.

I had myself so convinced that I knew it all, that no one could tell me what to do, that I was in control of my life.  How wrong I was.  I became pregnant as a result of a one night-stand, and abortion appeared the only solution.  I didn't want this baby.  I felt that I couldn't live with the shame of having a baby by someone I hardly knew.  I made the decision to go to England and have the abortion, then come home and no one would ever know.

After the abortion I felt numb.  I didn't want to think or talk about what I had done to anyone, so I suppressed it as if it never happened.  I completely blocked it out of my life as if it had happened to someone else.  That was not me, I would tell myself.  I was totally in denial.

As time went by, I became very paranoid and anxious about myself.  I had very low self esteem, and lost all confidence in myself.  I became a people pleaser, thinking that no one liked me.  I felt that people could never accept me, because deep down I could not accept myself.

I now realize that I was suffering from post abortion trauma.  As I sunk deeper into depression, suicide appeared the only way out.  I was finding it very hard to live with the thoughts of the abortion and of all the other horrible things that had happened in my past.  I though that if I killed myself it would be a way out as I wouldn't have to live with my conscience and I couldn't live with the reality of the person I had become.  Then it struck me that I had also looked at the abortion as a way out and look where that got me.  Suddenly I realized that I was being selfish.  I had already turned my back on my family and on the friends who loved me.  Killing myself, instead of being a solution, would only hurt them far more.

I cried out to God to help me.  I kept saying "God why me"? "Why did all these horrible things happen to me".  I prayed to Him, imploring Him to give me another chance, to forgive me for all the wrong things that I had done.  Just then a very strong thought entered into my head.  I had a sudden realization that God had never left me, that it was I who had turned away and left Him.

After that , I began to pray again.  I went to Confession and even got a priest to deliver me from any evil I had come under as a result of going to fortune tellers,  and tarot card readers.  I went back to Holy Mass and my love for God was renewed, for bringing me through that very dark time in my life.

I began to read spiritual magazine's, and one day came across an advert for Rachel's Vineyard retreats.  Many times I went to phone the number but I guess I was afraid of the unknown and kept putting it off.

I knew that I had confessed the abortion but I also know that I still needed healing.  One day I got the courage to make that phone call.  I spoke to a lady who had such love in her voice, and made me feel that I was special, and that really comforted me.

I went on a Rachel's Vineyard retreat and was greeted by lovely warm hearted people, including other women who were post abortive.  I did not feel alone or out of place as I was among people who had been through the same experience, and who listened with such compassion.  The sense of being cared for, and the bonding that took place on the retreat was something very special.

May God bless the work of Rachel's Vineyard, as I highly recommend it to anyone who has had an abortion.  I thank God that I made that phone call and went on that retreat.  It has changed my life.



 My name is Nadia, I had an abortion many years ago, and since then, there have been times of unspeakable pain and loss.  I have had a lot of healing and prayer and have had Mass’s offered over the years, and really believed that there were no more tears to cry.  Three years ago I was returning from Ireland with a friend who began to speak of Rachel’s Vineyard, and how she had participated in a retreat.   Immediately I was interested and knew that I also wanted to participate.  The opportunity arose when I heard that a Rachel’s Vineyard weekend retreat was going to be held at Pantasaph in North Wales.

  This retreat was beyond anything I could have imagined.  Jesus Himself was present and the mercy of God flowed over us. It was as though Jesus opened a door for me and took me to that place that I dared not enter alone.   From the beginning, Scripture was used and the Word of God, which is so powerful, brought into the light everything that had influenced my decision, and completely healed many dark and painful memories that I had carried for years.

Rachel’s Vineyard was for me, like entering a very beautiful garden of graces, with healing streams, and fountains of living water.  There was no judgment, no condemnation, just love and acceptance.  We each had an opportunity to tell our story, and there was a very special time when we named our children, prayed for them and lit a candle for them---the candles burning all together is a moment that I will never forget.  The retreat ended with a memorial service that was so beautiful and anointed, it could only have been from heaven, and finally with Holy Mass.   Our leader was a most caring, sensitive, and compassionate lady, who understood from her own experience, and led the retreat in such a way that each person was able to be open to all the graces that God had for them.

   My journey is not yet over, but I am left in awe of the boundless mercy and love that God has for me.































Forbidden Grief
Forbidden Grief

This book reveals the deep wound of abortion with profound insight and memorable examples. Soft cover.

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